The value of appreciation


Last week I had the opportunity to hear author Paul White, coauthor of the book The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Gary Chapman. His presentation was titled, The True Value of Diamonds.

He started by discussing the value of diamonds. Looking beyond the shiny and pretty, you’ll find Diamonds are used extensively in industrial settings because of their strength and intrinsic value. He drew a tangible comparison between the value of a diamond as a hard-worker, and the differences between a shiny employee and one with intrinsic value to the organization.

Paul used references from his best-selling book, and really struck a chord when he discussed the differences between recognition and appreciation.

You probably agree with 69% of those in corporate settings that don’t feel that their recognition programs make them feel appreciated. Paul gave us the key reasons why this is true:

Focus: Recognition is focused on Employee Behavior. Appreciation is focused on Employee Behavior, Character and Intrinsic Value

Objective: Recognition is designed to Improve Performance. Appreciation will not only Improve Performance, but also Support and Encourage the person.

He also spoke about the Relational Direction (Top Down vs. Any), Goal (Good of the Company vs. Good of the Company and the Person), and Relationship (Organization to Employee vs. Person to Person).

Why don’t those organizational programs work?
– Generic actions
– Group based
– Infrequent
– Organizational (not personal)
– Not perceived as genuine

How do you do it better? He gave us an overview of the 5 Languages of Appreciation:

Words of Affection – verbal communication that is positive and timely
Quality Time – focused attention – could be lunch, social, or just 15 minutes in your office to vent
Acts of Service – get their computer to work right, help with clean up – note: Ask first!
Tangible Gifts – not bonuses or compensation, this could be a card, movie tickets – #1 choice is food
Physical Touch – spontaneous celebration – high five, fist bump, even an actual pat on the back

Each is detailed well in the book (affiliate link). He also discussed what we should do to use the correct language in the right situations.

1. Know your default language – that is, which one works best for you.
2. Observe
3. Get an assessment – there is a tool in the book, and some free resources here.

Simply put, I was bummed when his hour was up. He was entertaining and made very interesting and relevant points about recognition. If you’re in a position to recognize others (work, school, non-profit, etc.) his concepts will be an eye-opener for you and your organization.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but after hearing him speak and what I’ve read so far I easily recommend the book. Take a look yourself.



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